House collapses: student prevents worse from disaster in Lille

panorama house collapse

Student prevents worse from catastrophe in Lille

House collapse in Lille

Despite the evacuation, the fire brigade has rescued a dead person under the rubble

Credit: AFP/SAMER AL-DOUMY

A student was returning to his apartment in the center of Lille at night from a party when he was beaten. The wall in the hallway had shifted. He alerted the fire brigade and the house was able to be evacuated before it collapsed. Yet one died.

EA college student discovered massive cracks in his home in Lille, northern France, when he returned from a party at night and likely prevented a high-death catastrophe with a quick alarm. As the man alerted the fire brigade and police, the building was evacuated on Saturday evening before collapsing in the morning along with a neighboring house, Lille mayor Martine Aubry announced.

While the 22-year-old was already being celebrated as a hero, the fire brigade received sad news at the end of the rescue work on Sunday: they found a missing person dead under the rubble. A second victim was pulled from the rubble with minor injuries.

When he opened the front door after a night out with friends, he came across a completely misaligned wall in the hallway, Thibault Lemay told France Bleu. “I go to my two roommates and we find out that the building has been moved because we couldn’t open the door at the top and we heard the rubble falling,” the student said. “When I left the house at 8 p.m., there was no trace of it.”

The collapsed houses stood in the historic center of Lille

The collapsed houses stood in the historic center of Lille

Source: AP/STR

The residents of the other three apartments were hastily evacuated. Apparently no one expected a collapse. At around 9.15 am, the buildings on the street, which is busy during the day with shopping tourists, suddenly collapsed.

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A photographer from the newspaper “La Voix du Nord” witnessed the collapse on his way to the editorial office. First stones broke from the facade and then the buildings collapsed. The photographer was able to reverse gear just in time to assure rescuers that no one was in front of the buildings at the time of the collapse. A neighboring hotel was evacuated.

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The investigations launched by the judicial authorities should, among other things, clarify whether renovation works on one of the buildings are the cause of the collapse. Experts have begun examining neighboring buildings for stability and security, the mayor said. According to media reports, a third house next to the ruins would collapse on Sunday. Interior Minister GĂ©rald Darmanin thanked the fire brigade for their efforts and the student for his quick response.

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